ashton-remax_NEWThe 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship is just a few weeks away, and three Nashville Predators prospect will participate in the tournament; Patrick Harper (USA), Dante Fabbro (Canada), Eeli Tolvanen (Finland).

In last year’s tournament, Harper scored one goal in seven games, Fabbro tallied one assist with a +3 rating in seven games and Tolvanen recorded two goals and four assists in six games.

Canada is seeking to avenge last year’s loss in the gold medal game to Team USA. Fabbro was a part of the Canadian team that suffered a 5-4 shootout loss to the Americans, and he says this year’s team is out to finish the job that the 2017 team failed to do.

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“I know we were up by two goals, at two separate points in that final game, and we kind of got a little bit too distracted,” Fabbro said in a recent interview with TSN. “It, unfortunately, didn’t end up the way we wanted it to, but I think, obviously, if you just keep focus and your eye on the prize, the sky is the limit for any team there. I think, with the group of guys we have coming back, it’s definitely something that we’ve all talked about and want to make sure that we finish the job this year.”

Editor’s note: Both Patrick Harper and Dante Fabbro participated in the World Junior Summer Showcase. Watch our interview Dante Fabbro.

Team USA

Team USA looks to defend its gold-medal victory from last year with a loaded roster that is filled with highly skilled forwards and physical defensemen. There is no doubt the expectation for Team USA is to get back to the final.

Patrick Harper is one of just seven returning Americans from last year’s gold medal-winning team. The others include: Joey Anderson (University of Minnesota-Duluth), Kieffer Bellows (Portland Winterhawks), Adam Fox (Harvard University), Ryan Lindgren (University of Minnesota), Jake Oettinger (Boston University) and Joseph Woll (Boston College).

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Team USA’s preliminary roster includes 28 players, five of which will be cut at the conclusion of the team’s training camp, held Dec. 15-19 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Roster

Forwards: Joey Anderson, Jack Badini, Kieffer Bellows, Logan Brown, Trent Frederic, Patrick Harper, Max Jones, Will Lockwood, Hugh McGing, Casey Mittelstadt, Josh Norris, Ryan Poehling, Brady Tkachuk, Riley Tufte, Kailer Yamamoto

Defensemen: Mikey Anderson, Adam Fox, Quinn Hughes, Cole Hults, Phil Kemp, Ryan Lindgren, Andrew Peeke, Scott Perunovich, Dylan Samberg, Reilly Walsh

Goaltenders: Jake Oettinger, Jeremy Swayman, Joseph Woll

Schedule:

Dec. 20 – Belarus – Pre-tournament game – 7 pm

Dec. 22 – Sweden – Pre-tournament game – 7 pm

Dec. 26 – Denmark – Preliminary round – 8 pm

Dec. 28 – Slovakia – Preliminary round – 8 pm

Dec. 29 – Canada – Preliminary round – 3 pm

Dec. 31 – Finland – Preliminary round – 4 pm

Jan. 2 – Quarterfinals

Jan. 4 – Semifinals

Jan. 5 – Gold medal, bronze medal games

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Team Canada

Team Canada announced a preliminary 32-man roster for the World Juniors, with 10 of those players being cut following the team’s training camp, held Dec. 12-15. Preds defenseman Dante Fabbro is one of seven returners for Canada from last year’s runner-up team.

The others include: Carter Hart (WHL), Kale Clague (WHL), Michael McLeod (OHL), Taylor Raddysh (OHL), Jake Bean (WHL) and Dillon Dube (WHL). After the loss to Team USA in the World Junior Championships last year, then again in the World Junior Summer Showcase, there is no doubt Team Canada is tired of losing to the Americans.

Roster

Forwards: Jonathan Ang, Drake Batherson, Max Comtois, Dillon Dube, Alex Formenton, Cody Glass, Brett Howden, Tanner Kaspick, Boris Ratchouk, Jordan Kyrou, Kole Lind, Michael McLeod, Taylor Raddysh, Sam Steel, Tyler Steenbergen, Nick Suzuki, Robert Thomas

Defensemen: Jake Bean, Dennis Cholowski, Kale Clague, Dante Fabbro, Mario Ferraro, Cal Foote, Josh Muhara, Cale Makar, Logan Stanley, Conor Timmins

Goaltenders: Michael DiPietro, Carter Hart, Samuel Harvey, Colton Point

Schedule:

Dec. 20 – Czech Republic – Pre-tournament game

Dec. 22 – Switzerland – Pre-tournament game

Dec. 26 – Finland – Preliminary round – 4 pm

Dec. 27 – Slovakia – Preliminary round – 7 pm

Dec. 29 – USA – Preliminary round – 3 pm

Dec. 30 – Denmark – Preliminary round – 8 pm

Jan. 2 – Quarterfinals

Jan. 4 – Semifinals

Jan. 5 – Gold medal, bronze medal games

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Team Finland

The Finnish roster will have some future NHL talent with the 2017 third-overall draft pick Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars), 2016 second-round draft pick Ukko Pekka-Luukkonen (Buffalo Sabres), 2017 first-round draft pick Henri Jokiharju (Chicago Blackhawks) and Nashville Predators record-breaking forward Eeli Tolvanen.

Tolvanen was recently named a starter for the KHL All-Star game and tied Evgeni Kuznetzov’s KHL scoring record for an 18-year-old. Expect Tolvanen to look like a man among boys out there.

Roster

Forwards: Janne Kuokkanen, Kasper Bjorkqvist, Erik Embrich, Topi Piipponen, Julius Mattila, Otto Somppi, Arttu Ruotsalainen, Sami Tavernier, Julius Nattinen, Teemu Vayrynen, Aapeli Rasanen, Eeli Tolvanen, Kristian Vesalainen, Otto Makinen

Defensemen: Miro Heiskanen, Henri Jokiharju, Otto Leskinen, Jarkko Parikka, Vili Saarijarvi, Jesper Mattila, Juuso Valimaki, Kasper Kotkansalo

Goaltenders: Markus Ruusu, Veini Vehvillainen

Schedule:

Dec. 26 – Canada – Preliminary round – 4 pm

Dec. 28 – Denmark – Preliminary round – 12 noon

Dec. 30 – Slovakia – Preliminary round – 4 pm

Dec. 31 – USA – Preliminary round – 4 pm

Jan. 2 – Quarterfinals

Jan. 4 – Semifinals

Jan. 5 – Gold medal, bronze medal games

About the World Juniors:

In the preliminary round, the 10 teams are divided into two groups of five. Each group plays a single round-robin series, with the top four teams advancing to a playoff.

The remaining teams will play each other with the highest-ranking team playing the lowest-ranking team and so on, with the winner of each game advancing to the semifinals.

The winners of the semifinal games will play for the gold medal, while the losers of the semifinal games will play for the bronze medal.

Point scoring is as follows: three points for a win, two points for an overtime/shootout win and one point for an overtime/shootout loss.

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